Morganton I-40 exit gets new tight diamond design

Press release from the N.C. Department of Transportation:

N.C. Department of Transportation officials have selected a tight diamond as the preferred design for the Interstate 40/U.S. 64 interchange at Burkemont Road in Morganton.

Local officials and public input influenced the decision, as the tight diamond design will have less impacts for businesses and residences than two other options that were considered.

“This is very good news for Morganton residents and anybody who travels in this area, whether to do so regularly or are just passing through,” Division 13 Construction Engineer Randy McKinney said. “The tight diamond fits the purpose and need of this project — to reduce congestion and increase safety.”

The tight diamond requires less land by aligning intersections closer than typical. This new interchange will include coordinated timing of the signals, additional turn lanes, longer lanes for left-turning vehicles and an improved ramp design.

Other features include the following:
• Replaces the existing bridge of I-40.
• Eliminates the intersection of Williams Road and an I-40 onramp
• Replacing existing sidewalk with the potential for additional sideway in cooperation with the city.
• New access from U.S. 64 to Magnolia Place historic site with only right turns in and right turns out.
• A new two-lane road to provide a connection from U.S. 64 to Williams Road between Denny’s and Hardee’s.
• Moving the U.S. 64/Ross Street intersection to the north with right-turn-only access to and from Ross Street.
• Increased safety with a median on U.S. 64 between Conley Street and the entrances to Rural King and Lowe’s.
• U-turn space to provide safer access to businesses along U.S. 64.
• Extending turn lanes on U.S. 64 to both onramps.

The next step in the progress of the project is for NCDOT engineers and consultants to continue creating detailed designs and complete necessary documentation. The preliminary concept map is available here, but it will evolve.

Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to being in the spring of 2019, followed by the start of construction in 2020. The estimated cost of the project is $15.3 million before right-of-way is purchased and utilities are relocated.

U.S. 64 and I-40 will remain open during construction with some limited lane restrictions.

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